Hiscox First-Half Profit Jumps 44%, Beating Analyst Estimates

Hiscox Ltd. (HSX), the second-biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value, said first-half profit jumped 44 percent, beating analyst estimates, helped by accelerating growth in gross written premiums.

Net income climbed to $180.7 million pounds ($278 million) in the six months to June 30 from 125.8 million pounds, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based firm said today in a statement. That beat the 115 million-pound median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Gross written premiums rose 12.3 percent to 1.02 billion pounds after a 7 percent gain a year ago.

“Our strategy of building balance and diversification within the business continues to work,” Hiscox said in the statement. “We have taken advantage of improving markets and grown our insurance businesses in the U.S., U.K., Europe and in the London Market, whilst continuing to underwrite reinsurance very profitably.”

The shares jumped 2.4 percent to 625 pence at 8:04 a.m. in London. They have increased about 22 percent this year.

Hiscox’s combined ratio, or claims and expenses as a percentage of premiums, improved to 74.7 percent from 81.7 percent a year earlier, indicating improved underwriting in the period, according to the statement. The company said that reserves for “various 2010-2012 catastrophes are stable to improving,” at 73.6 million pounds in the first half.

The company increased its dividend by 17 percent to 7 pence in the first half, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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